Pros: 2 t-shirts in the running bag; start & finish in central Murcia.
Cons: maybe the course could avoid the long Azacaya avenue section.
We continue completing Spanish marathons from list.
Marathon 87 took a while. Firstly, I considered Málaga, but then I registered for Marrakesh, on January 26th, taking advantage of a cheap Black Friday flight offer. Man proposes, God disposes: a persistent fever attacks me the day before traveling. Sad, I put health first and decide to cancel the whole trip. Although I can recover some expenses, is not the case with registration and flights. Despite the experience, running a marathon deserves respect, especially with another marathon on the agenda only one week later.
Recovered by Tuesday, I manage to do 3 short training days in a row. Feeling physically tired, at least they are useful to remove the rust before heading to Murcia. A long 8 hours bus trip gets me there on Saturday afternoon. I have time for lunch and go to my hotel before the running expo opens in the evening. After the last cold days, the warm weather is welcomed and inviting for a walking tour of the city.
The running expo is in a gym. Quickly I take my runner kit and meet the first known faces: our Santi Hitos going for his marathon 307, and British Brian Mills, whom I met in some races while living in UK, with nearly 1400 marathons!
Later, I have a pizza and go to sleep. The hotel is just 400 metres from the start: perfect if you don´t want to stress yourself with more walking/traveling early on marathon day. Strangely I sleep better than before other marathons.
With the marathon planned at 9.00, there is also a half marathon race. Additionally, there is a 10k race scheduled at 9.20. In perspective is the way to go cost wise for many races nowadays. Obviously running a marathon takes a while and the city needs to block roads for longer, but offering more distances increase the number of potential participants. Total of runners close to 3000, with around 500 for the full marathon distance, offering a generous cut-off time of 6 hours.
Sunny and warm morning with no wind we start the race. Unknowing of my fitness level I position myself between the 3.30 and 4.00 groups: finishing below 4 hours would be a good result.
Marathon follows a course that we must run twice. Some sections are in the city centre, and other ones following long roads leading outside of town. These sections offer less pleasant sights and public.
In the 12k the runner in front of me stops suddenly in a turnaround point for the 10k, to ask the marshal if that is only for the 10k runners. Obvious it was only for them: the sign was clear. I end up falling on the ground and damaging my left elbow while trying to avoid knocking him down. After helping me to get back on my feet I carry on. No much to complain now as the race is far from over.
I cross the half marathon in 1.50.24, with the 4.00 still far behind. For the second lap gaps among runners are long. Nearly the 30k I am surpassed by Lola, with a stylist stride, and a bit later by David. My pace decreases as temperature raises, although I keep good hydration levels and don’t feel heat too badly.
Crossing the “wall” and heading back to Murcia the last section of the race goes quickly, knowing that I approach the finish line. Despite the early afternoon hours, public is not very abundant yet. In the Cathedral Square I finish with a net time of 3.53.09, in 229 position out of 455 finishers. Race done, and happy despite my earlier fears.
Time to go back to the hotel, get a shower and prepare to travel back. A few hours by bus await to get home and think about other objectives not far away.
Thanks for reading.